Private equity: Fund formation in France

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance focuses on French, Luxembourgish and pan-European funds, which the practice assists with the full spectrum of fund formation-related services as well as with secondary transactions, an especially active area for the group both on the buyer and the seller side. Practice head Xavier Comaills is the key name; his recent highlights include advising Archimed on the creation of a new small- and mid-cap buyout fund with a focus on European companies from the healthcare sector and assisting Mirova with the creation and fundraising of its second infrastructure fund. Advising on debt funds and seed and growth capital funds are other areas of expertise. Other clients include Cathay Capital, Bpifrance Investissement and Ardian. Counsel Tiana Rambatomanga joined Stephenson Harwood.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.

The 'extremely reactive' team at Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. provides 'pragmatic advice' and, 'due to its expertise, network and capacities', provides a 'one-stop shop' approach, which is 'a strong asset'. The group also impresses with its 'technical expertise and creativity' and fields a varied funds practice, ranging from private equity and venture funds to real estate funds, infrastructure funds, debt funds and UCITS funds. Managing partner Stéphane Puel, who 'provides tailor-made and business-oriented advice', and the 'very responsiveAnn Baker, known for her 'great knowledge of international standards', lead the team. 'Extremely reliable' counsel Rima Maîtrehenry 'has outstanding knowledge of funds practices, including on non-legal matters such as financing, accounting and regulatory'. In addition to advising Sigefi Private Equity on the structuring of a French cross-border fund created with the purpose of making investments in France and Canada, the group also assisted Idinvest Partners with the structuring of its third private equity fund investing in mid-sized companies in the technology sector. Isatis Capital, Five Arrows Managers and Partech Partners are also clients.

Goodwin

Goodwin combines 'a pragmatic approach' with 'efficiency' and 'responsiveness', providing clients with 'a high-value service'. Buyout, mezzanine, infrastructure, life sciences and technology funds are areas of particular expertise, but the practice's track record includes a much broader range of funds, including real estate, debt and venture funds. 'Rigorous' and 'extremely experienced' practice head Arnaud David, who clients appreciate for his 'constructive approach', and recently promoted partner Sarah Michel 'always try to optimise and find solutions instead of new problems'. Chequers Capital instructed the team to advise on the fundraising for its Chequers Capital XVII fund with a total commitment of €1.1bn from approximately 40 institutional investors. Other clients include Antin Infrastructure Partners, L Catterton and new client Ring Capital.

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP's team of 'well-rounded experts' is 'unique because of its ability to deal with highly complex technical issues and ability to combine tax matters with fund formation matters'. Known for its 'strong business acumen', the 'excellent' team advises sponsors, institutional investors, principals of private investment and private equity funds, with expertise in the full range of investment fund-related services. Secondary transactions are a particular strength. Following the departure of former practice head Olivier Dumas to Joffe & AssociésAntoine Sarailler and 'very responsive', 'private equity leaderSabina Comis jointly head the practice. In a recent highlight, Comis led in advising Rothschild Asset Management on the creation of a French société de libre partenariat as a feeder fund for PAI Europe VII-1, including advice on regulatory and tax issues. 123 Investment Managers and 17Capital are new clients, while Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity is among the firm's other clients.

Jones Day

Jones Day is experienced in advising limited and general partners on the creation of funds as well as on secondary transactions. The group fields a strong domestic practice but is increasingly active for clients from other European countries, Asia and North America. In a recent cross-border transaction involving the US and France, practice head Florence Moulin joined forces with Chicago- and New York-based colleagues to act for Ardian on the formation and fundraising of Ardian Growth Fund II, a €230m venture capital fund dedicated to innovative companies. In other work, Moulin advised Brownfields Gestion on the setting up of Brownfields 3, a €250m fund created for the depollution and redevelopment of industrial and tertiary brownfield sites, especially in large conurbations. Truffle Capital, Idinvest Partners and Indigo Capital are also clients.

Simmons & Simmons

The 'wonderful' team at Simmons & Simmons is 'a very strong presence in the market' and impresses with its 'knowledge of what limited partners want to structure the best possible funds'. Mandates concerning private equity funds, infrastructure funds, real estate funds and debt funds form the core of practice head Agnès Rossi's workload; Rossi's expertise is of 'enormous value'. In evidence of the team's cross-border strength, Rossi cooperated with Luxembourg-based Augustin de Longeaux to advise InfraVia Capital Partners on a pan-European infrastructure fund, which closed at €2bn. Another highlight was assisting Eurazeo PME with the formation of parallel funds and a fundraising for Eurazeo PME III. Capzanine, Meridiam and RGreen Invest are also clients. Marcela Moraru joined from Axa IM - Real Assets.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP specialises in advising on buyout and credit funds in addition to funds in the energy, real estate, software and reinsurance sectors. Latour Capital is one of several new client wins, while Astorg Partners, Abénex Capital and Apax Partners are also among its clients. Practice head Nathalie Duguay advised PAI Partners on the creation of its seventh pan-European fund for which French limited partnerships were used alongside a Luxembourg limited partnership and a total of €5bn was raised. Duguay also led in advising BlackFin Capital Partners on the fundraising for BlackFin Tech Fund 1, dedicated to European fintech, insurtech and regtech companies.